The Masque of the Red Death Questions and Answers
by Edgar Allan Poe

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What is the symbolism of the rooms in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death"?

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In Poe's classic short story "The Masque of the Red Death," Prince Prospero invites a thousand of his aristocratic friends to seclude themselves inside his castellated abbey while a deadly pestilence known as the Red Death wreaks havoc on the surrounding countryside. During the fifth or sixth month of their seclusion, Prince Prospero holds a bizarre masquerade in his seven-room imperial suite to entertain his guests. Each of the seven rooms of Prince Prospero's imperial suite is decorated in a different color, and the rooms span from the eastern side of the abbey to the western side. The color and location of the rooms are symbolically significant and represent the seven different stages of human life.

The most eastern room is colored blue, representing birth and the beginning of life. The next room is purple, which symbolizes growth and maturation. The third chamber is green, representing youth and adolescence while the fourth chamber is colored orange, which symbolizes the summer or autumn of life. The fifth chamber is white, representing old age and the sixth chamber is violet, which symbolizes illness and disease. The seventh and most western chamber is shrouded in black with scarlet window panes, resembling a deep blood color. The seventh chamber symbolically represents death, and the ebony clock inside the room serves as a reminder of the transience of life.

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